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Exercise Makes Life Better (and Longer) for Women

When it comes to health, there are some ways in which women are different from men. For example, women respond differently to diet and exercise regimens, and are more likely to die from heart disease. In honor of Women’s Health Weeka week focused on encouraging and empowering women to make their health a prioritywe’ve compiled a list of ways physical activity can help women live longerand better.


Women often find themselves juggling a lot of moving pieces—work, children, household, etc., which can all be very stressful. Fortunately, physical activity is known to reduce stress and improve mood. Research shows that exercise can decrease stress and increase mental resources to deal with it, boost mood during pregnancy, and benefit students. Vigorous exercise can also decrease stress, and improve mental health and sleep in young adults.

Weight Management

Statistics indicate that women are at higher risk of overweight and obesity than men. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 35% of men and 40% of women are obese, and obesity puts women at greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. But exercise can help control weight and benefit the health of overweight women.

Cancer Prevention

Physical activity can decrease a woman’s risk for several types of cancers, including breast and endometrial cancers. Regular activity can also reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, lower risk of adverse symptoms (including fatigue and depression) following cancer, and improve quality of life during treatment.  

Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, killing one in three every year. Research shows physical activity can be used as a tool to reduce the risk of developing or dying from heart disease and its associated risk factors. 

Bone Health

Women are at an increased risk for osteoporosis, which can lead to fractures, so it’s a good thing physical activity can boost bone strength and bone mineral density throughout life. One study showed that lifelong exercise helps sustain bone health in girls and women, while another showed that maximal training improves bone mineral density in young women. Community-based exercise programs have also been shown to help women maintain bone and muscle mass.